|Below, for your reference, is the full text of President Julio Frenk’s video message (above) to the University of Miami community.|
We are now less than six weeks away from completing the Spring 2021 semester—and this historic academic year. Today, I want to provide a brief update on where we are now and where we anticipate we will be by the Fall 2021 semester.
We continue to navigate the ups and downs of life in the time of COVID. In this dynamic process, we progressively reach significant milestones. For example, this past weekend the Frost School of Music was able to feature live performances for the first time in over a year. With necessary protocols and limited in-person attendance, it was a moment of tremendous hope.
Yet, we know from experience that our hope must be tempered by steadfast shrewdness. Our enviable weather has been attracting many to South Florida. In addition, late March and April holidays, including Easter and Passover, with Eid al-Fitr to follow in May, often draw loved ones together. We have learned this year that we can find joy in celebrations, even when they look and feel different than they have in the past.
The end of the pandemic is in sight, but now is not the time to let go of prudence. In fact, this week we have seen an uptick in cases, likely driven by premature easing of caution and social activities around St. Patrick’s Day.
Vaccines and increasing immunity prefigure an impending return to many of the activities we have sorely missed. Yet, the threat of variants, which is exacerbated by lax observance of public health measures, demands that we remain focused on our health and safety. The heroic efforts of health care workers and the amazing feat of science to deliver vaccines in record time—in which the University and UHealth have been involved first-hand—have given the world optimism that we can overcome this pandemic, which brings me to our outlook for the future.
Let me be clear: we expect the Fall 2021 semester to look much more like the U experience did before coronavirus. Making that expectation a reality requires more than hope, it takes planning and investing in the right tools based on lessons learned.
Last fall, we led in the push to return to campus because we believed that with the appropriate precautions and, most importantly, with cooperation from our students, faculty, and staff, we could do so successfully. We look forward to celebrating our accomplishments with our graduates and their guests in May at our in-person commencement at Hard Rock Stadium. I must add here that the ability to deliver on our educational mission has relied on the adaptability and resiliency of our dedicated faculty.
In the coming weeks, students and faculty will receive more detailed information about fall classes and activities. Similarly, we will communicate, in advance, any changes to current arrangements for staff who continue to work remotely.
In closing, I want to thank not only our devoted faculty and staff whose creativity is making this year possible, but our students for their follow-through on what we all agreed to in August. The vast majority of our students—especially our student leaders, resident assistants, and public health ambassadors—have demonstrated that ’Canes truly care for ’Canes.
I am now delighted to turn it over to our outstanding Student Government President Abi Adeleke. I want to thank Abi and this year’s Executive Board, who will end their term on April 12, for having exercised the type of courageous leadership that these times have demanded. Abi.
[Student Government President Abi Adeleke]
Thank you, President Frenk. I join you in thanking the entire University of Miami community for stepping up to the challenges of this year. By intentionally planning, adapting, and responding, together we have come a long way. Let’s tap into our ’Cane spirit to finish strong!
We are one U.